Following about seven hours of deliberation, a jury found Marc Wilson guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the June 14, 2020 shooting death of Haley Hutcheson. He was found not guilty on all other counts.
After the verdict was read about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday in Bulloch County Superior Court, Judge Ronald K. “Ronnie” Thompson announced sentencing would be Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. No bond was set for Wilson at this time and he was sent back to the Bulloch County Jail.
In instructing the jury Tuesday afternoon, Judge Thompson told jurors they could acquit Wilson of felony murder – which means causing a death by committing another felony, in this case allegedly aggravated assault – but find him guilty of one of the lesser homicide crimes: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Wilson was acquitted of all other charges, but convicted of involuntary manslaughter. In Georgia, a conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of from one to 10 years. Following his arrest in June 2020, Wilson was incarcerated in the Bulloch County Jail for more than 20 months before receiving bail in March 2022. He has been under house arrest since at his parents’ home in Sharpsburg, Ga., where he wore an ankle monitor and remained within a 25-mile radius of the home.
After about two hours of deliberation Tuesday, the jurors requested some definitions of the offenses from the judge, and Thompson had them return to the courtroom, where he re-read the definitions. They then left for the jury room and continued deliberations until 6:30 p.m. when Thompson dismissed them for the evening. Jurors resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. this morning – Wednesday. The verdict was read about 1:15 p.m.
All 15 jurors selected chosen through the Aug. 22-23 selection process remained through the five days of testimony and argument. The 15 appeared to include eight men and seven women, including two Black women. When the 12-member jury was sent out Tuesday, one of the Black women was included, while the other was one of the three alternates.
When Wilson fired several shots from a 9mm handgun while driving his Ford Fusion, accompanied by Rigdon, along Veterans Memorial Parkway, Statesboro’s bypass, shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, June 14, 2020, one bullet struck Hutcheson, 17, in the head, as has not been disputed. At the time she was riding with four other teenagers from Claxton in a crew-cab Chevrolet Silverado pickup.
Wilson’s attorneys have long asserted that teenagers in the truck, particularly the three boys, initiated a conflict, shouting racial slurs, gesturing and swerving into Wilson’s lane, after mistaking Wilson, who is biracial, and Rigdon, who is white, for another interracial couple.
Wilson did not testify during the trial. But a recording of what he told two Statesboro Police Department detectives during a June 16, 2020 phone call he made to Rigdon while the detectives were at her apartment was played three times during the trial. The prosecution played it the first time while one of the detectives was on the stand. The defense called the other detective as a witness and played it again, and Johnson played it yet again during his closing argument.
Read more details about the verdict upcoming on statesboroherald.com and in Thursday's print edition of the Statesboro Herald.